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The Resort Hotels – Islands Dining Room at the Royal Pacific Resort

What: Full-service all-day dining
Where: Directly below the lobby overlooking the pool
Price Range: $$$ - $$$$+
Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily
Reservations: Not required but highly recommended. Call (407) 503-3463 or OpenTable.com

The hotel’s large main dining room (the restaurant seats 380) is styled in the Indonesian fashion with louvered walls and ceiling fans hand-fashioned from silken hand fans. Indonesian carved wooden panels divide the room into separate seating areas. Floor to ceiling windows seem to bring the pool area indoors and huge carved frogs from Indonesia stand sentinel-like, adding a whimsical touch. Alcoves along one side of the room serve as added dining space, or buffet lines, one of them set aside for the special evening kids’ buffet ($6), complete with kiddie-sized tables and chairs, a great way to give the grown-ups a mealtime break.

Most breakfast tastes can be accommodated — there's even a Japanese breakfast option — with the typical a la carte breakfast running just over $15. Unless, of course, you order one of the fancier Eggs Benedict offerings, in which case your bill could easily approach $19.50, the price of the sumptuous, all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet that includes made-to-order eggs and omelettes. The children's version of the breakfast buffet is $10.

Dinner is where the kitchen at Islands Dining Room comes into its own. Islands turns out some of the best dinner entrees at any of the resort hotels, with prices to match. It is easy to spend $30 to $35 or more per person on food alone, without drinks, tax, or tip. For many people that will put dinner here in the "special occasion" category, although the aforementioned $6 kids' buffet may lessen the impact on the old wallet. The menu also calls out some less expensive (and less adventuresome) choices.

The appetizers ($6 to $11) feature pork potstickers and Szechwan beef lollipops. Salads ($9 to $18) include a wonderfully simple "Seven Leaf" with lemon-soy vinaigrette. Entrees ($13 to $29) range from upscale versions of homey dishes like pork chops and fish and chips to a grilled beef tenderloin and salt-crusted ribeye.

Sandwiches ($13 to $17) are also available and include South Seas versions of the standard burger and the traditional club sandwich. Mini-desserts ($4) include passion fruit cheesecake and margarita key lime brulee.

The Islands Dining Room features Character Dining (Curious George and Woody Woodpecker are common sightings) and strolling entertainers. Several nights a week a Southwestern or Italian buffet is offered with entertainment to match. You may also see a witch-doctor magician moving from table to table or hear strolling Pacific islands musicians..

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Universal Orlando 2011


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